Think you’ve heard of most scams out there? You’re going about your usual business, checking the headlines and writing an email to someone. Then, all of a sudden, imagine you get a pop-up message on your screen saying that your computer needs tech support. Trying to resemble a legitimate tech support service, it might imitate a blue error screen or trusted antivirus software.

These scam artists reel you in mentioning that they need access to your computer, directing you to click on a link, often with grammatical or spelling errors or suggesting you call a toll-free number immediately, threatening that you may lose personal data. Once they have control of your computer, they ask you to send them gift cards for payment…online. After you go to the store and pick up gift cards, they ask you to type the gift card numbers and send to them. Shortly after, the scammer tries to tell you that the gift cards are no good and ask you to get other gift cards at the store, mentioning that your computer is locked until they receive the gift cards.

Hopefully this never happens to you, because this is the story of how a hacker compromises your computer. Prevent this from happening to you by only accepting tech support from businesses you know. If in doubt, stop and look for a physical address and phone number. Try to call them directly or go their site directly after a fresh restart of your computer or other connected device.